The gates of mercy open wide
20 Feb 2010 10:19 GMT
 
The gates of mercy open wide By ADIL SALAHI | ARAB NEWS Published: Feb 14, 2010 10:19 PM Updated: Feb 14, 2010 10:19 PM The previous passage included a description of the terrible situations in which the wrongdoers find themselves on the Day of Judgment: “If the wrongdoers possessed all that is on earth, and twice as much, they would surely offer it all as ransom from the awful suffering on the Day of Resurrection. For God will have made obvious to them something they have never reckoned with.

Obvious to them will have become the evil of what they had done; and they will be overwhelmed by that which they used to deride.” (Verses 47-48) Now the surah shows the way back leaving the gates of God’s mercy wide open, requiring nothing for admittance except sincere repentance. At this point, God shows the prospect of His forgiveness and mercy available to all those who have transgressed no matter how great the sins they have committed are. He invites them all to turn back to Him with repentance, entertaining no feeling of despair. This invitation to benefit by God’s grace is coupled with an image of what awaits them of suffering if they do not take this opportunity to repent before it is too late.

“Say: [Thus speaks God]: You servants of Mine who have transgressed against their own souls! Do not despair of God’s mercy: God forgives all sins; He alone is Much-Forgiving, Merciful.” It is divine mercy that will erase every transgression, whatever it happens to be. It is an invitation to all those who have gone far into error and led a life that has taken them far astray, telling them hope still remains available and God’s mercy and forgiveness are not far from them. God is most merciful to His servants. He knows their weaknesses and the factors that work on them, whether these are within themselves or in society. He is aware that Satan sets traps for them at every corner, using a great variety of forces, never tiring of his attempt to seduce them. Moreover, God knows that man can easily fall when he lets his bond to the truth weaken, and that his desires and aspirations can easily disturb his equilibrium, pulling him this way or that, leading him into error.

As God knows all this about man, He provides him with ample help, opening the gates of His mercy. He does not take him to task for his sin until He has facilitated for him all the ways and means to rectify his error and mend his ways. Nevertheless, when man goes deep into sin, thinking that he is totally rejected by God and that all is lost, he hears at this point of utter despair a fine address expressing the unlimited mercy available to him: “Say: [Thus speaks God]: You servants of Mine who have transgressed against their own souls! Do not despair of God’s mercy: God forgives all sins; He alone is Much-Forgiving, Merciful.”

This means that despite his repeated sins, going far into disobedience of God, all he needs to receive God’s grace that revives all that is good in him is to repent. All he needs to do is turn back to God through the gate that is left wide open, without a guard, and with no need for any special permission: “Turn toward your Lord and submit to Him before the suffering comes upon you, for then you cannot be helped. Follow the best that has been revealed to you by your Lord before the suffering comes upon you of a sudden, without your being aware of it.”

To turn to God in true submission and to surrender oneself once more to Him is all that is needed. No rituals, no barriers, no intermediaries, no intercessors. It is a direct link between servant and Master, creature and Creator: whoever wishes to return, stop rebellion and approach in full submission may do so. What he will receive is acceptance, a warm welcome and grace beyond measure.

Come on all of you, then! Come on “before the suffering comes upon you, for then you cannot be helped.” (Verse 54) Should the chance be missed, there can be no help. The chance is open now, but its duration cannot be guaranteed. In fact, it can terminate at any moment of the night and day. Therefore, come on and “Follow the best that has been revealed to you by your Lord,” which is this Qur’an that you now have at your fingertips, “before the suffering comes upon you of a sudden, without your being aware of it.” Come on now before it is too late. Otherwise you will regret missing the chance and ridiculing God’s promise. ¬



-- Arab News


© islamonline.com